Each week this season, we will spend some time on Tuesday analyzing the highest scoring lineups from the previous weekend's DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest. We highlight trends and strategy such as how much to spend per position, which stacking strategies (if any) have been successful, and which position has been best used in the flex spot. We will also compare results from the 2015 season to our in-depth study of the results from the 2014 season and see if the conclusions we drew over the offseason hold up when more data is added to the equation.
We will also look forward to the upcoming Millionaire Maker contest and point out some players who are in the same price ranges and have matchups similar to the players that helped previous DraftKings contest winners take home huge cash prizes.
THE WINNING LINEUP
DraftKings user chenhai15 rode his single entry to first place and $1,200,000 in Week 4 with 255.62 points. He used Sam Bradford at quarterback but wisely decided not to stack him with any of his top targets. He nailed his running back selections with Devonta Freeman, Justin Forsett and Doug Martin at FLEX. He also got solid (but unspectacular) production from his three wide receivers (Emmanuel Sanders, Julian Edelman, and Allen Robinson). Wide Receiver scoring was down across the board though, so solid scores in the 20-26 point range were actually pretty strong in Week 5. In addition to nailing his running back selections, selecting Antonio Gates was a huge key to chenhai15's win. Gates topped 30 points in his first game back from suspension and powered chenhai15 to the top of the leaderboard on Monday evening with his two-touchdown game.
THE TOP 20
Below are the lineups of the top 20 finishers in DraftKings' Week 5 Millionaire Maker tournament:
|1||Bradford||Forsett||Freeman||E. Sanders||Edelman||A. Robinson||Gates||D Martin||Packers|
|3||T. Taylor||Martin||Gurley||Edelman||Beckham||A Robinson||Barnidge||Freeman||Broncos|
|4||Bortles||L. Bell||Freeman||Beckham||Snead||A. Robinson||Gates||Hurns||Broncos|
|6||Bortles||L. Bell||Freeman||Maclin||Edelman||A. Robinson||Gates||Barnidge||Broncos|
|7||E. Manning||Martin||D. Lewis||K. Allen||Beckham||A. Robinson||Barnidge||Eifert||Broncos|
|8||J. McCown||D. Lewis||Freeman||Edelman||Beckham||A. Robinson||Gates||T. Benjamin||Broncos|
|9||Brady||Martin||L. Bell||T. Benjamin||Hurns||Cooks||Gates||Freeman||Broncos|
|10||E. Manning||Martin||Freeman||Maclin||Edelman||J. Matthews||Barnidge||Forsett||Packers|
|12||E. Manning||Martin||L. Bell||K. Wright||Hurns||Cooks||Gates||Freeman||Broncos|
|14||E. Manning||Forsett||Martin||Edelman||Beckham||Snead||Gates||J. Matthews||Packers|
|15||Bortles||Martin||Gurley||Jo. Brown||Beckham||A. Robinson||Gates||L. Bell||Broncos|
|16||J. McCown||Forsett||L. Bell||Fitzgerald||Benjamin||A. Robinson||Barnidge||Freeman||Broncos|
|18||Rivers||Martin||Freeman||E. Sanders||Aiken||A. Robinson||Barnidge||L. Bell||Broncos|
|19||E. Manning||Forsett||L. Bell||Jo. Brown||M. Wilson||Beckham||Gates||D. Martin||Buccaneers|
|20||J. McCown||L. Bell||Freeman||Fitzgerald||Edelman||T. Benjamin||Barnidge||Gates||Broncos|
THE TOP 3 PLAYS
For the third straight week, Devonta Freeman was one of the key players to own. He appeared on 75% of the top rosters and each of the top six finishers owned Freeman. The tight end position was again a major key to success this week with either Antonio Gates or Gary Barnridge appearing on the roster of every single Top 20 finisher. Two of the Top 20 owned both of the high-scoring tight ends. Honorable mention goes to Justin Forsett and Doug Martin. Both running backs had big weeks and appeared on a number of the top rosters.
Only 60% of the top finishers employed the stacking strategy this week and the overall winner chose to play Sam Bradford "naked" (without owning any of his top targets). Bradford has spread his ball around to a lot of different targets and thus is the type of quarterback who it makes sense to play without a stack in GPPs. The same holds true for Tyrod Taylor. His rushing ability means he can have a big day without any of his top targets putting up GPP-worthy statistics. An unstacked Tyrod Taylor led to a top three finish.
The best stacks of the week included Josh McCown with Travis Benjamin, Gary Barnridge or both. Each of the three configurations led to a Top 20 finish. A Josh McCown double-stack leading to a huge score? This isn't the typical Ravens pass defense (more on that later). Blake Bortles stacked with either of his top two targets (Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson) was a great play in Week 5 as well and multiple users rode Bortles to big money. Brady-Edelman, Manning-Beckham and Rivers-Gates were also amongst the successful stacks that players rode to Top 20 finishes in Week 5.
Looking ahead to Week 6, it may make sense to stack against the Ravens defense again with Colin Kaepernick ($5,000) and Anquan Boldin ($4,300). The Ravens defense has really struggled against the pass in three of the past four weeks and the 49ers passing game showed signs of life in Week 5. Carson Palmer ($6,600) stacked with either Larry Fitzgerald ($7,000) or John Brown ($5,200) also looks like an attractive option against the weak Steelers secondary.
Early in the season, the $6,500 to $7,500 price range was the sweet spot within which to target quarterbacks. But for the second straight week, many of the top options came in the sub-$6,000 price range. Josh McCown (38.48 points) and Blake Bortles (32.22 points) were amongst Week 5's top overall scorers and cost only $5,100. Bortles (25%) had the highest ownership rate at the position amongst the top finishers. Overall, the top finishers paid an average of just $6,030 for 30.4 points of production at the quarterback position. At a multiple of just over 5.0x, it was the highest scoring week we've seen at the position so far in 2015 and nobobdy earned a Top 20 finish without at least 22.5 or more points from their quarterback.
In Week 6, it will be interesting to see if the recent trend of big performances from inexpensive options continues. If so, Colin Kaepernick ($5,100), Sam Bradford ($6,000) Jay Cutler ($5,200) and Joe Flacco ($5,900) all look like decent candidates to put up a big '5x' type of performance. Tom Brady ($8,100) and the Patriots seem to have a bone to pick with Indianapolis after "Deflategate," so if you buy into narratives, he is a player worth strongly considering in Week 6. Brady could break the trend of low-priced quarterbacks dominating the Millionaire Maker in recent weeks.
It was a big week for running back scoring in comparison to wide receivers and nailing the running back selections was amongst the biggest keys to success in Week 5. Devonta Freeman (75%) and Le'Veon Bell (55%) were owned by over half of the top finishers. Doug Martin and Justin Forsett both had big weeks as well and were highly owned on Top 20 rosters.
Overall, the RB1s averaged 31.4 points at a cost of $6,785 (4.6x) and the RB2s averaged 32.8 points at a cost of $5,160 (6.4x). 90% of the Top 20 finishers scored 59 points or more between their two starting running backs. Without hitting on a pair of the top five backs, it was nearly impossible to finish near the top of the standings in Week 5.
Three of the four running backs we recommended in this article last week (Devonta Freeman, Justin Forsett and Dion Lewis) came through with big games in Week 5 and were present on a high percentage of the top rosters. Looking forward to Week 6, Matt Forte ($7,100), Arian Foster ($7,000), Demarco Murray ($6,000) and Charcandrick West ($4,000) all look like strong options with the potential to hit 5x price multiples.
Week 5 was the lowest-scoring week at Wide Receiver in recent memory. Nobody topped 30 points and the Top 20 rosters averaged less than 23 points per player at the WR position (the lowest in the year and a half I've been tracking). The WR1s scored 26.1 points at an average cost of $7,920 (3.3x). The WR2s scored 20.7 points at a cost of $6,130 (3.4x) and the WR3s scored 21.6 points at a cost of $4,500 (4.8x).
Odell Beckham Jr, Jr's 28.4 points barely exceded the 3x multiple given his high salary ($9,000) but he still ended up being a solid play. He was the WR1 on 50% of the Top 20 rosters. Likewise, Julian Edelman ($7,000) barely exceeded the 3x multiple with just 25 points but was still a strong option with the depressed wide receiver scoring. He was on 55% of the top rosters. Allen Robinson, Brandin Cooks, and Allen Hurns were also good plays commonly appered on the rosters of the top finishers.
It's difficult to draw any real conclusions or spot any trends from the Week 5 results at wide receiver. Though perhaps there is an argument that the top wide receiver options all have flaws right now. Beckham, Randall Cobb and Julio Jones are banged up. Antonio Brown misses Ben Roethlisberger. Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas are having trouble getting on track (in part due to quarterback issues). The smart move over the next few weeks may be to spend up on a pair of top runners and try to get lucky on the mid-lower priced options at wide receiver instead of hoping for huge production from the top guys.
Looking forward to Week 6, Deandre Hopkins ($7,700) is the one high-priced guy we did not mention above as currently flawed (he was not on the slate due to his Thursday game). He might be the player most worth paying up for this week. If Andrew Luck returns, T.Y. Hilton ($6,500) is fairly priced and the game could turn into a shootout. John Brown ($5,200) and Anquan Boldin ($4,300) were mentioned above as other high-upside options to consider.
Tight end was again an area where major separation occurred. Every single one of the Top 20 finishers owned started either Gary Barnridge or Antonio Gates at TE. The 30.4 average at the position was partway between Barnridge's 30.9 and Gates' 30.2 scores. At an average price of only $4,060, that was good for a massive 7.5x multiple. Once again, we have seen that hitting on the right pick at tight end is often the difference between a solid finish and putting together something special.
While the FLEX spot has historically been dominated by the WR position, this week it was the running backs that proved the best option. Only 20% of the Top 20 lineups used a WR in the FLEX. 65% used a third RB at the position with Devonta Freeman (20%) and Le'Veon Bell (20%) being the two most common options.
With the top runners priced more attractively than the top wide receivers again in Week 6, it might be worth going back to the well with three running backs again.
TOURNAMENT PLAYER INFORMATION
Once again, it was a week in which the players with only a fwe entries dominated. 70% of the top finishers entered three or less lineups. The winner was a single-entry player again. Only one of the Top 20 finishers entered over 40 lineups (nlemieux with 107 entries finished 7th place).